Council tax payers in Bury will pay five per cent more from April after the local authority set its budget for the upcoming year.

The council said it needs to make £30m of savings over the next three years to balance the books, with £15m in next 12 months.

The council has agreed to fund the gap for 2024/25 by making £5.4m of cuts and the remaining gap will be plugged by using around £10m of the council’s cash reserves.

Shortly after the start of the meeting several people sitting in the public gallery at Bury Town Hall’s council chamber began loudly shouting and chanting in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.

The meeting was interrupted for around two minutes as they were ushered away from the upstairs area.

Seconding the Labour controlled council’s budget, council leader Eamonn O’Brien, said: “Politics fundamentally comes down to choices.

“At budget time the spotlight of choices is at its brightest. Do we raise taxes or do we cut services further?

“Do we protect services for as long as we can or do protect our reserves?

"Do we pay our key workers, carers, cleaner, caterers a fair living wage or do we leave them in poverty pay?

“Do we invest in our future or do we manage decline? All of those choices face us tonight and they’ve become harder and harder, year after year because of a funding system which is unfair.

“Local government funding is broken.”

Conservative leader Russell Bernstein proposed a budget amendment which would include no increase in council tax bills in 2024/25.

He said the measure would be financed by not implementing a rise in the living wage to around 5,000 of the council’s lowest paid employees, which is set to cost £6.6m.

He said: “Our proposals are based on prudent financial principle unlike Bury Labour’s who rely on money trees being planted by others.

"This council has received an above average settlement for core spending which is higher than inflation.

“Why should government and the people of Bury have to subsidise Labour Party dogma?

"The principles of the real living wage are very laudable.

“However, not putting the best interests of the council and most people in the borough at the forefront of their thinking is why this administration’s financial objectives continually fail.

"Our proposals would mean no resident would pay any more in council tax than they are today.”

Radcliffe First leader Mike Smith responded to the Conservative suggestion about the real living wage.

He said: “With some things there are no grey areas and denying the lowest paid a living wage would mean we would be on the wrong side of the debate.”

Labour’s Tom Pilkington, said the Conservative plans were a "gimmick" and would be funded by imposing a real term pay cut for "staff supporting vulnerable children and support staff helping older people at home and in care homes".

The Conservative amendment was rejected by 35 votes to 11.

A Radcliffe First amendment was also debated which called for more than £300,000 of extra reserve funds to be used for measures including a licensing officer to explore the options around the houses of multiple occupation and to halt a reduction in pest control costs which would fund clearing vermin hotspots.

That budget amendment was also defeated.

Labour’s budget proposals were passed by a majority of councillors with Radcliffe First members voting in favour.